The Angelina College men’s soccer program didn't have to look too far for their new head coach. Martin Melchor is from just up the road in Cherokee County. The Jacksonville, Texas native realizes that the Roadrunner soccer program has been on a steady climb the past few years, culminating in last season’s appearance in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament, and Coach Melchor has every intention of seeing the ‘Runners continuing the climb.

Melchor said he’s aware of the program’s expectations and plans to use his familiarity with the Region XIV conference – he coached Jacksonville College’s men’s and women’s programs to their very first Top 20 rankings – to ensure the Roadrunners keep moving up.

“I’m coming into a young program that’s done very well,” Melchor said. “The last couple of seasons really show what Angelina College has to offer, and my job is to make the most of the resources we have while adding whatever value we can bring in through my experiences and through recruiting.”

Melchor’s background reflects his personal experiences with success. A product of Jacksonville High School, he departed the Fightin’ Indian program as the all-time leading goal scorer. At his next stop, Coastal Carolina University, Melchor was part of a squad making four straight appearances in the NCAA National Tournament, with the group reaching the Round of 32 from 2014-2016 and the Sweet 16 in 2017.

With Melchor running the Chanticleer pitch, CCU won three conference championships. As a collegian, he twice earned Top Drawer Soccer National Player of the Week honors and All-Sun Belt Team honors.

His most recent coaching stint occurred as the assistant men’s soccer coach at Bowling Green State University, where the Falcons were ranked among the NCAA’s Division I pre-season polls. One of Melchor’s protégé’s earned MAC Goalkeeper of the Year, and another player was a Top 20 Major League Soccer draft pick with FC Cincinnati.

Melchor also served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the University of Texas-Tyler.

All those experiences, Melchor said, will come in handy when showing his players how fortunate they are to join the Roadrunner program in Lufkin.

“What helps me as I’ve been a player and coach at different levels, and I can tell these guys with all honesty, ‘You’re lucky,’” Melchor said. “They’re lucky to have the facilities and campus we have here. These are top-notch, and the players will see that as they visit other areas.”

As for his coaching approach/philosophy, Melchor’s message to his players is pretty straightforward: Be ready to go all-out on both ends of the pitch.

“Our system will rely on players who are willing to work on both sides of the ball,” Melchor said. “We’re going to have offensive talent, but it’s just instilling habits at this point, along with bringing in guys who want to work on both ends and be a group that’s hard to beat. There are a lot of intangibles involved with building the type of team we want, and we’ll work on tactics and other aspects when all the players get here. But for now, we’re going to focus on being a team that works hard.

“We’re not going to try and reinvent anything,” Melchor added. “We’re just going to keep putting a team out that Angelina College and the community can be proud of.”

The Roadrunners open the season with a home scrimmage against Ranger College at 3 p.m. on Friday, August 11 at the AC Soccer Complex on the Angelina College campus.

Admission to all AC Athletics events is free.

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